This week’s episode of Revolution, “The Song Remains the Same,” was written by the team of Monica Owusu-Breen and Matt Pitts and directed by John F. Showalter. I found the episode was somewhat uneven, and I particularly found the usually strong female leads were not written as well or as consistently as I’ve come to expect. This was surprising coming from the same writing team who gave us the strong fall finale episode, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” The episode did contain some major reveals, however, and another very strong performance from Giancarlo Esposito. Showalter does his usual great job with both the action sequences and emotional scenes, resulting in a number of exceptional performances.
The scene between Neville and Jason (J.D. Pardo) is another great scene. Jason wants an explanation from his father, and Neville tells him, “It’s a hard world, and if you’re weak, you’re dead.” He didn’t want his son to be like he was. He was hard on his son, so that he would survive. He wanted him to become brutal. Neville uses Julia (Kim Raver) against Jason because he knows that Jason isn’t the brutal killer he wanted him to be. Jason proves his loyalty to the rebels by deceiving Neville into revealing his plan. While it is easily believable that Neville would deceive Jason, I think it is also very likely that he was sincere about why he was so hard on Jason.
Elizabeth Mitchell also gives an outstanding performance in the episode, but her character seemed to be all over the map emotionally. It does seem that Rachel is clearly working against Monroe, but it didn’t seem at all consistent for her to put the best interests of the group – to get information from Neville – behind revenge. Once again, Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) is forced to be the adult and take her mother to task. The relationship between Charlie and Rachel makes an interesting parallel to the Jason/Neville dynamic. Rachel is distraught that Charlie has more in common with the more brutal Miles (Billy Burke) than herself, interpreting Charlie’s prioritizing the needs of the group ahead of revenge for her family as a failing. But in both cases, Rachel and Neville fail to really understand that their children have grown up in an entirely different world, and interestingly, both Jason and Charlie seem to have reached the same place. Both are fighting for the greater good.
The big reveal of the episode is a huge payoff in the mytharc of the story, however. We learn that the power went out because of a nano-technology that Rachel helped develop and that somehow malfunctioned. Aaron (Zac Orth) is determined that they can fix it. The computer chips are the size of a virus and were only designed to absorb electricity and replicate. Of course, none of this explains what could have gone wrong – because that seems to be what they are doing – and it doesn’t explain why the pendants allow the electricity to work.
My biggest issue with the episode, however, is with the end. Why are Rachel and Aaron going off to the Tower alone? Why can’t any of the others go? Why is it necessarily a suicide mission as Rachel seems to think by telling Charlie there is no hope they will see each other again? None of this makes any sense. It does make sense to try to get the power back on, so why not send a small group – one that includes all of our principle characters? And what happened to Miles assembling his old team? Is Hudson to be the only one? After being patient through such a long hiatus, I feel like we need to be rewarded with tighter story-telling. What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments.